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default Is it any wonder people don't cook real food any more?

Post by Green Rosie on 25th April 2010, 7:55 am

I've just been onto the Sainbury site to look at some prices.

Rhubarb - 400g pack - £2.29 (£5.72/Kg)

AND that was with a £1 reduction so the normal price would be £8.23/Kg

A bit further down the page I saw you could buy a 565g rhubarb crumble for £2.29 or a 600g frozen one for £1.50 Shocked

Is it any wonder people shy away from fresh produce at these prices and go for the ready made crumble Evil or Very Mad

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Post by Aberlemno on 25th April 2010, 8:45 am

I agree, prices are absolutely ridiculous. No wonder people say they can't afford to buy fruit and veg. We get most of our fruit and veg (apart from what we grow) from a discount warehouse. He used to have a market stall, but sells from home now. I like the bargain corner - trays of fruit 8lbs for £1, which I freeze or use for jam making.
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Post by Chilli-head on 25th April 2010, 9:12 am

Though at first it might seem crazy, this is not so inexplicable as you might think. Produce grown for processing is not always grown in the same way as fresh produce; it is grown for maximum yield, with no need for it to look presentable. Also there is not as much waste; the frozen crumble will not go out of date before it is sold. There is no need to rush processed or frozen produce from field to shop.

Also, if you look at the list of ingredients prepared food usually has a lot of cheap bulk added. One of the aims of the food industry is to sell you as much air and water as possible !
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Post by Green Rosie on 25th April 2010, 9:40 am

Chilli-head wrote:Though at first it might seem crazy, this is not so inexplicable as you might think. Produce grown for processing is not always grown in the same way as fresh produce; it is grown for maximum yield, with no need for it to look presentable.

But who was it decided that supermarket produce needs to look absolutely perfect to sell? A slightly wonky piece of rhubarb will taste just as good as a perfectly straight uniform sized one but we have been led to believe that only perfect produce is good enough.

Chilli-head wrote:
Also, if you look at the list of ingredients prepared food usually has a lot of cheap bulk added. One of the aims of the food industry is to sell you as much air and water as possible !

Exactly - but far too many people think they are getting a good product at a cheap price when in fact they are getting a cheap product at a relatively expensive price.

Chilli-head wrote:Also there is not as much waste; the frozen crumble will not go out of date before it is sold. There is no need to rush processed or frozen produce from field to shop.

Stupid high prices on fresh produce so it remains unsold coupled with ridiculously short sell by dates on far too much fresh produce that is then chucked regardless of its quality. Supermarkets make their own waste by this process.

If supermarkets were to buy locally .......

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Post by Mike on 27th April 2010, 1:04 pm

That's ridiculous! Except perhaps in terms of what is produced per square meter of a truck farming operation. Over the year you can produce many heads of lettuce in the space required by one clump of rhubarb as rhubarb is a large plant. On the other hand, once established almost zero work except harvesting.

I am confused about "appearance". Never. or hardly ever seen a rhubarb stem that wasn't looking normal. Shorter than what you'd want maybe, not as red tinged as you'd want maybe, but otherwise close to perfect. This is a crop to buy when in season and then put up frozen for later use or made into syrup for future use.

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 27th April 2010, 1:11 pm

Green Rosie wrote:
Chilli-head wrote:Though at first it might seem crazy, this is not so inexplicable as you might think. Produce grown for processing is not always grown in the same way as fresh produce; it is grown for maximum yield, with no need for it to look presentable.

But who was it decided that supermarket produce needs to look absolutely perfect to sell? A slightly wonky piece of rhubarb will taste just as good as a perfectly straight uniform sized one but we have been led to believe that only perfect produce is good enough.

I suspect that it probably is public-led actually. I can't imagine the supermarkets decided arbitrarily to select food for aesthetic uniformity - everything they do is profit-driven. I daresay the majority of people plump for the straightest sticks of rhubarb and carrots etc and the supers just cater to that demand.

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Post by Chilli-head on 27th April 2010, 4:58 pm

Well, first off there is rhubarb and there is rhubarb. 'Tis not all the same. There is the common or garden stuff, or forced rhubarb grown indoors by candlelight in the "rhubarb triangle" near Wakefield.

I guess it needs to be straight enough sticks not to jam up the flow wrapper, but beyond that, the need for perfect looking sticks can only be either down to what the customer wants, or the supermarkets being deluded into thinking that is what the customer wants. I suspect that the supermarkets have done their research, and that perfect appearance actually is what the average customer wants. Even if it is a silly and wasteful idea.
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Post by Green Rosie on 27th April 2010, 7:51 pm

I think the perfect produce thing is a bit chicken and egg. The British public has for some time shopped with it's eyes rather than nose or hands thus supermarkets soon saw that perfect looking produce sold faster that the slightly wibbly wobbly stuff and began to stock more and more of it, rejecting anything deemed less than perfect. It also makes packing and transportation easier. Sadly quality in taste is lost for perfection in looks. Here in France you don't get funny looks if at the market or supermarket you pick up to feel and smell your veg before you buy it but in England I did!

As for rhubarb quality you are right about the best stuff coming from the rhubarb triangle but the stuff I saw wasn't forced nor sold as being anything other than bog standard fresh rhubarb.

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Post by Green Rosie on 27th April 2010, 7:53 pm

I meant to also say I am currently cooking up 2kgs of rhubarb from my garden to make rhubeena - glad I didn't have to pay £16.46 for it Laughing

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Post by Dandelion on 27th April 2010, 9:39 pm

Green Rosie wrote: Here in France you don't get funny looks if at the market or supermarket you pick up to feel and smell your veg before you buy it but in England I did!


Me too - I sniffed some apples in Te$co, and another customer asked me what I was doing. I explained that I wasn't going to buy the apples because they smelt of mothballs - he seemd a bit affronted, and said that he loved those apples and was going to buy some. He gave me very odd looks every time he caught sight of me after that!

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Post by danksshady on 28th April 2010, 2:28 pm

I have actually never bought rhubarb so had no idea it was so expensive - my parents have 2 big rhubarb plants which grow on an old compost heap - they produce more than we can use in a year and alot gets given away to neighbours
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Post by Bagpuss on 24th May 2010, 10:32 pm

Lol at Dandelion. I always smell and touch the fruit I buy too. Some supermarket fruit smells of absolutely nothing which just seems so strange to me. I know that a lot of fruit in the supermarket is not yet ripe but they should smell of something and I've had the experience many times of fruit which is supposed to ripen at home yet goes from being unripe to rotten without any nice stage in between. So basically a total waste of money!
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Post by Adrian on 24th May 2010, 10:36 pm

I get very funny looks when I sniff the tomatoes in the local supermarket (well its half an hours drive, so about as local as I can get).

Usually they smell of nothing, so don't get bought, but being locally grown I still harbour the vague hope that they will one day be edible.

My rhubarb patch is still establishing, so I bought some at the local farmers market on Saturday ($1 a pound) it is now Rhubarb crumble, om nom nom.. Tis little wonder that I'm tubby...

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Post by Dandelion on 24th May 2010, 10:43 pm

It's a sad year for us rhubarb-wise, as I split ours in the autumn, so have to hold back and let both clumps establish themselves. Have realised how much i love the stuff!

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Post by Compostwoman on 24th May 2010, 11:17 pm

Come and have some of ours, we don't like it much!
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 25th May 2010, 7:44 am

Badger wrote:I get very funny looks when I sniff the tomatoes in the local supermarket

Try sniffing bicycle seats outside the supermarket and then see what kind of weird looks you get...

very little tolerance in the world these days.

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